A steady stream of registrations is flowing in as Leadville prepares to welcome racers and recreationists to the 2020 Dion Snowshoes U.S. National Snowshoe Championships Feb. 28-March 1.
Colorado Mountain College Leadville, along with the Lake County Tourism Panel, is heading up the efforts to host the event. Furthermore, area restaurants, lodges, and businesses are pitching in to make this, the 20th year of the championships, a memorable one.
Event director Leslie Gamez, who is also the CMC Foundation’s regional development officer for Leadville, said that the college would never have been able to host the championships without the outpouring of community support.
“The Lake County Tourism Panel and numerous local sponsors have helped with funding and in-kind gifts,” Gamez said. “Local businesses like Community Threads, Melanzana, and Freight have stepped in with donations that are helping us produce a terrific event for competitors and helping to showcase our mountain community.”
Snowshoeing For All
The championship weekend is for everyone. For example, heavy hitters competing in the event are Michelle Hummel of Albuquerque (two-time U.S. Women’s National Snowshoe champion and the 2018 WSSF Women’s World Snowshoe champion), Josiah Middaugh of Vail (six-time U.S. Men’s National Snowshoe champion and a former U.S. and World XTERRA Triathlon champion) and Joseph Gray of Colorado Springs (five-time XTERRA Trail Run World champion). So will high school and collegiate racers, and the event welcomes even occasional snowshoers who can run the course at their own pace in recreational races.
The United States Snowshoe Association produces the annual racing event at host sites that bid for the honor. Cable, Wisconsin, hosted the championships last year. Also, Bend, Oregon, and Woodford, Vermont, have served as host sites. Leadville’s selection in 2020 sets it apart as the highest USSSA national snowshoe championships in the races’ history.
“It makes sense for us to host the championships since the races can be held on our stellar campus trails,” said Darren Brungardt, the championships’ race director, who’s also an assistant professor of mathematics at CMC Leadville and the head coach of CMC’s cross country running team.
Besides the races, CMC Leadville will host a vendor expo at the campus’s Climax Molybdenum Leadership Center. Several snowshoe companies will be on hand, as well as outdoor clothing manufacturers and local organizations. Get Outdoors Leadville! is planning to host some activities for children, as well.
Prepping For The 2020 Snowshoe Championship Races
CMC Leadville ski area operations faculty and students are grooming the trails adjacent to the campus in preparation for six races that will be held during the two days of competition. They’ll continue to prepare the course up through the championships.
Additionally, the events involve CMC staff and students from a range of disciplines. They’ll oversee critical components of the race, including course design, timing system, and results to ensure that competitors have world-class race experience.
“I really enjoy the opportunity to get students involved in event grooming because it is so unique,” said Jason Gusaas, who teaches ski area operations at the campus. “Special techniques are utilized, and schedules are adjusted according to the weather. It gives the students exposure to a higher level of grooming.”
“Hosting a national competitive race gives our students first-hand experiences in sports event management,” said Gamez. “They’re learning not only about racecourse set up, but safety, venue management, and spectator flow, and much more.”
Starting at noon on Friday, Feb. 28, participants will check-in and register at race headquarters at CMC Leadville. Then, that evening, there will be a welcome reception and pre-race meeting.
Saturday, Feb. 29, is race day, with both champion snowshoe competition and recreational snowshoe races. In the afternoon, there will be an awards ceremony.
Finally, the championship weekend winds up on Sunday, Mar. 1, with a recreational relay race.
“We are thrilled to welcome competitors from across the country to experience our amazing winter playground and warm Leadville hospitality,” said Gamez.
“This gives our community the opportunity to showcase the abundant access to winter recreation in Lake County,” said Cooper Mallozzi, the dean of the School of Hospitality, Tourism & Recreation at the college. Furthermore, “Leadville is a real mountain town that embraces endurance activities and winter in general.”
For registration details and more on the U.S Snowshoe Championships for 2020, go to runreg.com/2020ussnowshoechampionshipscom or the event website, www.2020ussnowshoechampionships.com. For information about Leadville, visit leadvilletwinlakes.com or visit coloradomtn.edu/leadville for information about CMC Leadville.
Colorado Mountain College supplied a version of this post as part of a press release.